The Search for the Homestead Treasure: A MysteryBy Ann Treacy
978-0-8166-9956-8, $16.95 hardcover
University of Minnesota Press, May 2016
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An adventurous boy uncovers the mystery of family treasure in early twentieth-century Minnesota.
About the book:
Aunt Ida would boil him in the laundry cauldron if she knew where he was. She had warned them about the Gypsies, and now here he was, ducking into a colorful caravan with Samson, a Gypsy boy he had met…underwater.
Missing his friends and life as it was before his brother’s accident, fourteen-year-old Martin Gunnarsson is trying to hold his family together on the homestead where his ancestors died of diphtheria in 1865. The only one who had survived was his father, a baby found in the arms of his older sister Cora. But somehow rumors of a treasure on the farm survived too, and when Martin discovers Aunt Cora’s journal in a musty trunk in the hayloft, he thinks it might give him a clue. But what exactly is he looking for?
Reading Cora’s diary in secret, and just as stealthily becoming fast friends with Samson and his Roma family, Martin slowly begins to see his new surroundings differently.
A book for girls and boys of all ages who like mysteries, snakes, horses, reading in secret, forbidden friends, and working hard for your family.
Blog posts about the book:
Finding Treasure at a Workshop—a post by Ann on the Highlights Foundation blog
Fiction is woven of fact, history, and hard work—a post by Ann on the University of Minnesota Press blog
Review of the book—More Reason to Write blog
Praise for the book:
"Set in rural Minnesota in 1903, this evocative effort neatly weaves in period details. It reflects the demands of farming and the significant prejudice that was harbored by the white farmers against the Roma, documented both in the story that depicts their culture and in an informative author’s note…Although the story is focused on Martin’s coming-of-age and his evolving friendship with Samson, the treasure hunt subplot adds additional drama. A good bet for fans of historical fiction." (Historical fiction. 10-14) —Kirkus Reviews
"Martin is a quiet character who will not let go of my heart! While his story is one bound in family and history, his struggles and grit will speak to every modern young reader who knows loss and heartbreak. Treacy’s message of perseverance and hope makes Martin a protagonist to root for and a boy never to forget."—Helen Hemphill, author of The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones
"Ann Treacy shows a gift for mystery shot through with historical details, but never overwhelmed by the past. Reading The Search for the Homestead Treasure made me want to find lost treasure and—almost—made me want to grab hold of the plow with Martin, clearing the land for planting and clearing a path for him into the grown-up world."—Gwenyth Swain, author of Wanda Gág: Storybook Artist and Riding to Washington
"Here is a real treasure. Authentic and beautifully told, this book weaves together the endearing story of an unlikely friendship with a compelling and intriguing mystery. Ann Treacy brings to vivid life the hardship and rewards of early twentieth-century rural Minnesota in this gem of a book."—Margi Preus, author of Enchantment Lake